Saturday, August 24, 2013

Quilts & washing machines

Earlier this summer, the washing machine went on the blink! Ironic and inconvenient at the same time. Ironic because I last posted on removing renegade dyes from quilts and recently on washing quilts. Inconvenient because all four of my kids had returned home with piles of dirty laundry. We revisited our local Laundromat, surviving until things got resolved. First world problems.

Long story short, I eventually fixed the KitchenAid washer I've owned since August 1989. It's been so great for washing fabric, quilts, and soaking batting. I like that I can manipulate the dials and not have to override a lid lock or a locked-in wash cycle.

While you can still buy a new traditional style washer without a lot of bells and whistles, the quality of both low-end and high-end equipment isn't long-lasting. One technician said today's appliances will last 5-10 years. I'd be more inclined to take a chance with a good used machine. No guarantees.

Thanks to the University of YouTube and Robert at DeWhitt's Appliances, I learned much about basic troubleshooting a washer's ills--faulty lid switch, timer, broken coupler, etc. We tested the lid switch with a meter and it tested in good working order. Then we tested the timer which appeared to be dead, so we pulled it and I took it with me on my tour of appliance shops that have used parts.

When I took off the machine's front casing, I realized the problem--burned out wiring. I called to get a replacement that is no longer available, but called Robert and he gave me a connector with newer wiring that my husband joined to the washer. A free fix! And it's been working for several weeks now.
It's important to keep your inner and outer wash baskets clean. The outer basket tends to collect dirt along its walls. This greasy, grimy dirt can transfer back onto clothing and quilts and it's not easy to remove. There are machine cleaners on the market, but you can also fill the washer with hot water, add a cup of bleach and let it sit for a bit. I use a soft brush to scrub out the wash basket holes before spinning the water out. Run water through once more before putting in a load of laundry. For the zealous cleaner, a complete dismantle of the inner/outer washers is really recommended for a thorough clean.

Copyright ©2013, Sharon Baggs